Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Gardens by the Bay: Supertrees Grove

The Changing Character of the Supertrees Grove

Singapore has been given many nicknames: Nanny State, The Sin City, The Little Red Dot, The Land of the Shopping Malls (ok, that one come from me), Lion City, and last but not least, the Garden City. Lately Singapore government is pitching the idea of City in a Garden (as supposed to Garden in a City). But that's another story for another article.

Singapore is also in love with the future. Just look at at the city the breathless pace of changes in the last 30 years. It's certainly one of the most - if not the most - information wired society in the world. Actually, I can quite confidently say the most, at least in per capita basis because of its small population and love of information technology.

It makes sense because everything about Singapore - its main industries - depend heavily on information technology: the banking sector, the tourism industry (20% of Singapore GDP), and its world-class transportation hub. Singaporean also embrace technology. There're 4 digital technology sales a year.

Yes, there's Singapore Botanic Gardens (74 hectares). But it's not in the city (not "Garden in the City"), and it's a traditional garden.

Gardens by the Bay (101 hectares) is a statement and an embodiment of the 2 things that Singapore cares about: being green, and looking into the future. I don't know if that's their intentions, but that what Gardens by the Bay says to the world.

Planet (2008), sculpture by Marc Quinn, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Planet (2008), sculpture by Marc Quinn in GB.
The artist used his infant son as a model for this giant, seemingly floating baby.
The title of the sculpture suggests that this baby represents the earth.
Vulnerable, helpless, and should be handled with kid gloves.

Instead of yet another traditional gardens, Singapore went for a futuristic, Buckminister Fuller type of vision, blending the man-made structures with the natural plants. Ok, there' no geodesic domes here, but it has Supertrees that's marking its futurist designs. The type that reminiscent in some sci-fi cities of the future.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
GB by day
Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Giant Supertrees
Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Holographic projection of Gardens by the Bay in Cloud Forest, Singapore
Holographic projection of Gardens by the Bay can be viewed in Cloud Forest

As planned, we left the domes about 6:30 pm. We meandered a little bit before reaching the Supertrees Grove for the nightly light and sound show (Officially known as "OCBC Garden Rhapsody").

To me, while the Supertrees look futuristic during day time, when night falls, the Supertrees take on different light, different vibe, a beguiling quality to it. A kinda Tim Burton fairy-tale aura to it with its tendril lines that form the branches of Supertrees in fading light.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
GD by dusk

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
The lights on the Supertrees had been turned on around 7:30pm

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
People walking on the skybridge that suspended between Supertrees.

The music for the light and sound show varies from time to time, but I don't think they change from night to night. For example, the video recording below features mostly Chinese music, which is the first time I heard. I suspect this was probably done so because of the upcoming Chinese New Year in 10 days time.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Light-Up for the light and sound show

When the night falls, the sky blackens like a backdrop being descended on a stage, the Supertrees take on yet a different character as the coloured projections and dazzling light bulbs are turned on. It becomes a somewhat glitzy, and glam silhouette of Broadway musicals. And then the Rhapsody begins.

The light and sound show could be quite mesmerising if you let it washes over you. It lasts less than 13 mins.

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